Monday, January 6, 2014

Riding the 1957 3000-SE Odakyu-RC Train in 1990

Back in 1990, I occasionally worked in Machida, and since the timing was perfect, I would take the Odakyu Romance Car super express there, which was always (at that time of the day) the very same 1957 train.  At the time, I understood it was the oldest type, but didn't know it was the very first type of Odakyu-RC train and also didn't know how advanced it was when it was introduced in 1957.  Apparently it was the fastest narrow-gauge train in the world at the time, and was technically advanced, with disk brakes, etc.
1990 being a bubble year still, I was caught up in the general atmosphere of new-new-new and was actually a little disappointed to always be riding the old type of Odakyu-RC train, but now - some 24 years(!) later, I increasingly realize how lucky I was to experience riding in that historically significant train.  Each ride on a Romance Car (ロマンスカー) express train began with a woman handing out a menu (now food and drink service is only offered on certain trains at certain times).  The following scan is of a menu I received when riding in one of the Odakyu-RC trains in 1985:
This is opened, showing the front (right) and back (left), with the schedule on the other side.  When I scanned this, I scanned both sides, but will have to do some more digging to find the schedule side.  (In any case, this is the more interesting and significant side.)  Coincidentally, this June 1990 issue of the Odakyu-RC handout includes a photo of the very first Romance Car (only slightly different than the nearly identical type - also from 1957 - I was riding in in the following video) - explaining (in Japanese) some technical aspects of the train and its perception by people at the time.
To repeat what I say in the details section of the above video:

   "1990年10月5日 - 小田急ロマンスカー3000形SE車  This ten-minute video shows the trip I took via Odakyu "Romance Car SE" (Super Express - which set a world speed record for narrow gauge in 1957) from Shinjuku to Machida on October 5th, 1990 - from watching the train pulling in at Shinjuku, to boarding, watching the driver operate the train, views out the front of the train of many trains passing in the opposite direction (including newer types of Odakyu-RC trains), passing local trains, pulling into Machida Station, and getting off the train while a woman from the train bows to departing passengers.
   "At the time I took this, I was sort of disappointed that it wasn't a newer type, but in retrospect, it's lucky I got on the oldest type, since they discontinued using this type just a year or two after I took this video.  The plaque at the front of the train indicated it was built in 1957 (Showa-32) and refurbished in 1984 (Showa-59)."

I started this blog to focus on pictures from 1990-93, but there's overlap with my general blog that I use to introduce both pictures and video:


The title and link to the 1990 ride in the 1957 Odakyu Romance Car super express train is as follows:

1990年 - 1957年の3000形SE車の小田急ロマンスカー 1957 Odakyu RC Super Express (901005)

The video above was originally recorded onto analog 8mm tape, which I later digitized, edited, and uploaded - with all work from camera to posting by myself - Lyle H Saxon, and all rights reserved for this video (copyright 1990) as well as all of my other material (photographs, video, text, etc.).

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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